Honor, Build, and Restructure

Preparing Transformative School Leaders as Equitable Changemakers Through Doctoral Research Methods Courses





EdD, qualitative methodology, transformative capstone


School leaders enrolled in CPED-influenced and practitioner focused doctoral programs require specific research-based skills and knowledge that bridge both educational scholarship and practice in order to be relevant for both their dissertation process and school practice. In doing so, these doctorate in education (EdD) programs must critically exam their qualitative research methods courses to honor the professional practice of their adult learners and usher in innovative, collaborative, transformative, and participatory research design courses to meet this demand. As such we present our methodological course sequence built on principles of adult learning and a signature pedagogy, the first course is a reimagination of the qualitative research course and the second is a reconceptualized transformative capstone.

Author Biographies

Linsay DeMartino, Illinois State University

Dr. Linsay DeMartino considers herself a scholar-practitioner. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Administration and Foundations Department at Illinois State University. Her research and teaching are grounded in transformative practices and justice in educational spaces. As a former P-12 educational practitioner, she was a special education resource/inclusion teacher, special education department chair, and an instructional data and intervention administrative coordinator.  

Dianne Gardner Renn, Illinois State University

Educational Administration and Foundations
Illinois State University


Bhattacharya, K. (2017). Fundamentals of qualitative research: A practical guide. Routledge.

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. (2021). The CPED framework. https://www.cpedinitiative.org/the-framework

Esteban-Guitart, M., & Moll, L. C. (2014). Funds of identity: A new concept based on the funds of knowledge approach. Culture & Psychology, 20(1), 31–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354067X13515934

Glesne, C. (2016). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction. Pearson.

Hoggan, C. D. (2016). Transformative learning as metatheory: Definition, criteria, and typology. Adult Education Quarterly, 66(1), 57–75.

Irwin, V., De La Rosa, J., Wang, K., Hein, S., Zhang, J., Burr, R., Roberts, A., Barmer, A., Bullock Mann, F., Dilig, R., and Parker, S. (2022). Report on the condition of education 2022 (NCES 2022-144). U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics.

Kasworm, C., & Bowles, T. (2010). Doctoral students as adult learners. In Gardner, S. K. & Mendoza, P. (Eds.), On becoming a scholar: Socialization and development in doctoral education (pp. 223-241). Stylus.

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. Jossey-Bass.

Mintrop, R. (2016). Designed-based school improvement: A practical guide for educational leaders. Harvard Education Press.

Perry, J. A., Zambo, D., & Crow, R. (2020). The improvement science dissertation in practice: A guide for faculty, committee members, and their students. Myers Education Press.

Radd, S. I., Generett, G. G., Gooden, M. A., & Theoharis, G. (2021). Five practices for equity-focused school leadership. ASCD.

Rivera-McCutchen, R. L. (2014). The moral imperative of social justice leadership: A critical component of effective practice. Urban Review, 46(4), 747–763.

Shields, C. M. (2010). Transformative leadership: Working for equity in diverse contexts. Educational Administration Quarterly, 46(4), 558–589.

Shields, C. M. (2020). Transformative leadership. In C. M. Shields, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.632

Shulman, L. S. (2004). The wisdom of practice: Essays on teaching, learning, and learning to teach. Jossey-Bass.

Shulman, L. S. (2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), 52–59.

U.S. Department of Education. (2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service.




How to Cite

DeMartino, L., & Renn, D. G. (2023). Honor, Build, and Restructure: Preparing Transformative School Leaders as Equitable Changemakers Through Doctoral Research Methods Courses. Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice, 8(2), 30–35. https://doi.org/10.5195/ie.2023.364



Themed-Reimagining Research Methods Coursework for the Preparation of Scholar-Practitioners